After Catullus and Horace

By Bernadette Mayer b. 1945 Bernadette Mayer
only the manners of centuries ago can teach me
how to address you my lover as who you are
O Sestius, how could you put up with my children
thinking all the while you were bearing me as in your mirror
it doesn't matter anymore if spring wreaks its fiery
or lamblike dawn on my new-found asceticism, some joke
I wouldn't sleep with you or any man if you paid me
and most of you poets don't have the cash anyway
so please rejoin your fraternal books forever
while you miss in your securest sleep Ms. Rosy-fingered dawn
who might've been induced to digitalize a part of you
were it not for your self-induced revenge of undoneness
it's good to live without a refrigerator! why bother
to chill the handiwork of Ceres and of Demeter?
and of the lonesome Sappho. let's have it warm for now.

"After Catullus and Horace" by Bernadette Mayer, from A Bernadette Mayer Reader. Copyright © 1968 by Bernadette Mayer. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Source: A Bernadette Mayer Reader (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1992)

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Poet Bernadette Mayer b. 1945

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Love, Poetry & Poets, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Imagery, Free Verse, Allusion

 Bernadette  Mayer

Biography

An avant-garde writer associated with the New York School of poets, Bernadette Mayer was born in Brooklyn, New York, and has spent most of her life in New York City. Her collections of poetry include Midwinter Day (1982, 1999), A Bernadette Mayer Reader (1992), The Desire of Mothers to Please Others in Letters (1994), Another Smashed Pinecone (1998), and Poetry State Forest (2008). Known for her innovative use of language, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Love, Poetry & Poets, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Imagery, Free Verse, Allusion

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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